TSB meltdown latest: Facepalming reaches critical mass as Brits get strangers' bank letters

Plus: SIM-swapping scam costs customer thousands

Young guy facepalms while holding a laptop

TSB customers have reported receiving letters from the British bank containing other people's details in the embattled firm's latest cock-up.

The bank went into meltdown at the end of April when a long-planned migration off its former parent Lloyds Banking Group's infrastructure went badly wrong.

Customers were unable to access their accounts for more than a week – but even after bosses declared the systems "up and running" the chaos continued, and users struggled to access online services or get through to call centres, or fell victim to fraud.

TSB is now facing another scandal after screwing up snail mail, having reportedly blabbed customer details to other users.

According to the BBC, some customers who had complained to the bank received a letter acknowledging this – some of which also contained another missive addressed to someone else.

Isabella Morrison-Shand, of Inverness, said that the second page of her letter contained the reference number, name and address of another TSB customer.

"If I was in any way shady, I could contact them and say that I was from TSB and perhaps trick them into discussing things," she told the Beeb. "I have no confidence in TSB at all of controlling their usage of my data and keeping it safe and secure."

The error could be in breach of data protection laws, and the Information Commissioner's Office confirmed that it was aware of the problems at the bank.

"The ICO is continuing to make enquiries in relation to TSB and we are aware of ongoing issues. Customers who are concerned about their personal data can contact us," a spokesperson said.

TSB said that it was aware of the issue, while subtly trying to shift the blame elsewhere.

"We are aware that there has been an issue with a recent acknowledgement mailing," their spokesbod told us.

"We are working with our third-party supplier to understand the root cause of the error and we'd like to apologise to anyone that may be impacted."

Meanwhile, customers are at increased risk of fraud – not just from phishing calls, emails and texts purporting to be TSB and asking them to verify their bank details.

A more sophisticated way of relieving people of their cash is so-called SIM swapping, where scammers with access to a TSB customer's account and personal details ask that person's mobile provider to switch their number from one SIM to another, thereby granting the scammer access to any 2FA codes sent via SMS.

One Reg reader who is a TSB business customer said he had lost £12,500 this way when fraudsters gained access to his number for two hours last week. He warned that even though he clocked the scam and asked his network provider to suspend the number, the scammers called back afterwards to have it reactivated.

Echoing widespread complaints from customers, he reported spending hours on hold to TSB, followed by hours in branch, trying to fix the situation.

Rubbing salt into the wound, when our reader got through to the help line, he was told that the bank needed to send an SMS to restore access to his account – which never arrived because the scammers had also changed the phone number attached to the account and the bank had failed to confirm it.

Describing TSB's handling of the situation as "completely ham-fisted", he said that he planned to seek compensation from the bank and close all his accounts.

"It's a bank in absolute meltdown – they've totally lost all grip of how to respond to customers."

Meanwhile, a lawyer, Jonathan Silverman, is canvassing for other TSB customers to join a class-action suit against the firm.

We've asked TSB for a comment on SIM-swapping, but it has previously promised to reimburse customers who have been a victim of fraud after the incident. ®

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